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Friday, May 29, 2009

Executive Director Of Tancredo's PAC Guilty Of "Karate Chop" Assault On African-American Woman

by Matt Finkelstein

Yesterday, former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo attacked Judge Sonia Sotomayor for being a member of the National Council of La Raza, absurdly likening the civil rights organization to "a Latino KKK without the hoods or nooses."

Tancredo's outlandish cries of racism are difficult to take seriously considering his own well-documented bigotry. However, the conservative blog Little Green Footballs has flagged a lesser known story demonstrating Tancredo's embrace of intolerance. Apparently, the executive director of Tancredo's anti-immigrant Team America PAC (also executive director of Pat Buchanan's group, The American Cause) pled guilty to "verbally and physically assaulting a black woman" and will be sentenced in July. According to the Factual Proffer from the case:

Had this case gone to trial, the Government's evidence would have shown beyond a reasonable doubt the following facts:

On July 7, 2007 at approximately 7:15 p.m., at Jefferson and M Street, Northwest, in Washington, D.C., defendant was walking down the street when he encountered the complainant, Ms. [Redacted], who is African-American. The defendant uttered, "[N*****]," as he delivered a karate chop to [complainant's] head. Ms. [Redacted]'s [redacted] attempted to detain defendant, but defendant was able to escape. Ultimately, the defendant was stopped and arrested by Secret Service officers.

The defendant, Marcus Epstein, is still featured prominently on Team America's website nearly two years after the crime. So, it's evident Tancredo is only "concerned" about racism when it furthers his bigoted agenda. (Though there is absolutely nothing racist about Sotomayor or La Raza.)

Click here to read more official documents from the case.

GOP Hispanic Strategists Stunned, Outraged By Sotomayor Attacks

By from Huffy Post and by Sam Stein

Top-ranking Republican strategists who specialize in Hispanic outreach say they are outraged, disturbed and concerned by the type of reception Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court has received from conservative activists.

In the days since the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, several prominent conservative voices have leveled unusually blunt attacks at her resume. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and radio host Rush Limbaugh both insisted that the court of appeals judge was a racist for saying that her Hispanic background allowed her to come to better judicial decisions. Former Congressman Tom Tancredo, on Friday, called Sotomayor a member of the "Latino KKK."

The rhetoric has been enough to make Republican strategists in heavily Latino states cringe -- concerned that such slights could cement Democrats advantages among a growing and increasingly influential political constituency.

"Of course this disturbs me," said Lionel Sosa, one of the more influential Hispanic media advisers in the GOP. "I'm not surprised at Rush Limbaugh but I'm very surprised at Speaker Gingrich because he is one of the key people who knows the importance of the Latino vote to the Republican Party. He must realize how his rhetoric, if it does influence any Hispanics, how damaging it could be. This [confirmation] is something that is going to happen anyway. For a senator to have strong opposition to her, they are either not aware of the impact Latinos will have on the next election or they don't care."

Sosa certainly knows what makes the Hispanic voter tick. He has helped with or worked on seven Republican presidential campaigns since 1980, including John McCain's and both of George W. Bush's. He was joined in his lament by several other Hispanic strategists who spoke to the Huffington Post. Even those Republican Hispanics who have served in government said they were deeply worried about the Sotomayor pushback, though they cautioned that it was coming almost entirely from outside the party establishment.

"In the real world, absolutely this rhetoric matters," said former Rep. Henry Bonilla of Texas. "And that's why I think, thus far, the key leadership in Washington has been very cautious and thoughtful in their responses, and I hope that will continue... At the end of the day, people will see [these remarks] for what they are. And realize that this is nothing new coming from various opinionated people on the conservative side. It is nothing different than what comes from the liberal side."

As for Tancredo specifically, Bonilla called his remarks "outrageous." Perhaps, he added, it was a good thing because "credibility goes down the drain when you hear something like that."

Certainly, both he and Sosa acknowledge, taking on the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee by calling her a racist was not helpful for the GOP's already frayed roots within that community. And while the confirmation battle will likely cool down in the weeks ahead, some GOP advisers who specialize on the Hispanic vote said the blowback from the early salvos could continue to be felt for elections to come.

Story continues below

"I think this is going to have a long-term effect," said Frank Guerra, a GOP strategist who has worked on Rick Perry's gubernatorial campaign in Texas and Jeb Bush's in Florida - both heavily Hispanic states. "For the most part in politics, what gets said meets the immediate need but doesn't address the long-term issues. And some of this dialogue is going to really hurt Republicans in their efforts to attract and keep Hispanic voters... This absolutely matters to the community. This is a watershed moment. It is a first. A Hispanic woman on the Court."

Arguing that about a quarter of the Hispanic vote usually remains undecided going into an election, Guerra concluded that the remarks of Gingrich, Limbaugh and others would help push a portion of that percentage more firmly Democratic.

Democrats gleefully agreed, noting in part that the issue would be exacerbated by a Hispanic media that tends to cover political news in larger chunks than its American counterpart.

"This is the worst of all worlds because these are the kind of comments and quotes that rip through popular culture," said prominent Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. "And people don't realize that media outlets like Telemundo still have a lot more news content then some of the networks like CNN. And so they have longer forums where these things are commented on by pundits and observers. It will be repeated even more because Sotomayor is obviously a huge news item in Latino press. So I think these kinds of comments that people think are isolated and embarrassing actually could have a real impact culturally. And I always think pop culture has a greater impact that policy or politics."

Note to Newt: How "New Racism" Isn't Like "Old Racism"

By John Ridley

Old white guys can be a funny bunch, can't they? The same anti-same-sex marriage, anti-affirmative action cadre can flower into the biggest supporters of "equality" the minute they get a whiff of minority empowerment.

To that end, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is accusing Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor of being a "new racist" because of a line she delivered in a speech back in 2001. Sotomayor is quoted as saying: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Reasonable.

Unless you're, like, an aging geezer peaking out of your window at those scary dark-skinned people who just bought the house across the street. Then all your shriveled up little ears hear is a supposed corollary to Sotomayor's statement which is -- according to Newt -- "My experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman" to which he added, "New racism is no better than old racism."

By the way, thanks for coming to the party late on that denouncement of "old racism."

But here's the deal, Newt, your "new racism" isn't like "old racism" 'cause "old racism" tended to involve things like shackles, and whips and the Middle Passage. Attack dogs, Billy clubs and water hoses. Burning crosses and lynch mobs. Confederate flags, liquor and screams of "Kill the (fill in pejorative here)!" "Old racism" was red lining and segregating and "whites only" drinking fountains, schools and country clubs. It was The Dred Scott Decision, Executive Order 9066, and the Trail of Tears. "Old racism" was a blind eye and "all deliberate speed" that wasn't deliberate or particularly speedy and nonsense about the sanctity of marriage which was crap when it was applied to "race laws" and is crap when applied to "one man/one woman."

"New Racism?" That's apparently a Latina openly talking about how "more often than not" she would like to avoid the "conclusions" that allowed "old racism" to thrive. That's a long way from getting your ass beat for trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge so maybe your kids might one day enjoy the right to vote.

The fact that Newt would even attempt to compare "old racism" and "new racism" only proves Sotomayor correct in saying that experience based on fact is very different than that based on perception.

Newt, seriously, anytime you want to swap racisms give me a

Who's the real racist???

Since President Obama named Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court judge nominee the right wing has used various smears to discredit her record but since Wednsday one smear is becoming the right favorite one, that Sonia Sotomayor is racist because she takes account her experiences when she rules. But here's the funny part about this the two main people running around screaming she's a racist are Tom Tancredo and Rush Limbaugh. So in fairness I'm going to pick out quotes made by Tom Tancredo and Rush Limbaugh and you tell me what you think
  1. Tom Tancredo: "You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace," Tancredo said of Miami, according to the Web site WorldNetDaily. "You would never know you're in the United States of America. You would certainly say you're in a Third World country."
  2. Tom Tancredo: “So what may I ask are our presidential candidates doing participating in a Spanish speaking debate? Pandering comes to mind.” Bilingualism is a great asset for any individual but it has perilous consequences for a nation. As such, a Spanish debate has no place in a presidential campaign.
  3. Tom Tancredo also had a ad that gave the impression immigrants are rapists.
  4. Tom Tancredo:

    "Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.

    "You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.

    "Yeah," Tancredo responded.

  5. Rush Limbaugh: take on the NAACP, a group with a 90-year commitment to nonviolence: "The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."
  6. Rush Limbaugh:To a black caller"Take that bone out of your nose and call me back." A decade ago, after becoming nationally syndicated, he mused on the air: "Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"
  7. Rush Limbaugh: In 1992, on his now-defunct TV show, Limbaugh expressed his ire when Spike Lee urged that black schoolchildren get off from school to see his film Malcolm X: "Spike, if you're going to do that, let's complete the education experience. You should tell them that they should loot the theater, and then blow it up on their way out."
  8. Rush Limbaugh: in response to a caller arguing that black people need to be heard, Limbaugh responded: "They are 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?"
Yeah those champions of civil rights should know what a racist comment looks like. What is funny about this line of attack from the right is these are heavy champions of using racism to gin up their audiences. Sources: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5176541,00.html http://thinkprogress.org/2007/12/08/tancredo-boycotts-tomorrows-univision-debate/ http://migramatters.blogspot.com/2007/12/tancredos-newest-ad-immigrants-are.html http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,162795,00.html

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hannity: We Should Take Note Of Only The Bad Things Anonymous Lawyers Have Said About Sotomayor

From Think Progress and By Ryan Powers

Last night, Fox’s Sean Hannity continued his attack against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor using cherry-picked quotes about her from a profile of Sotomayor in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, which relies on anonymous quotes from lawyers who have tried cases in her court room. Hannity used the quotes to characterize Sotomayor as “agressive,” “out-of-control,” and, “nasty”:

HANNITY: [W]hat do the lawyers who have appeared in her courtroom think of her judicial temperament? Well, not much. The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary solicits commentary from practicing attorneys about our federal judges. Now here’s what some lawyers who have argued before Judge Sotomayor had to say about her. Quote, She is a terror on the bench. She is overly aggressive, not very judicial. She behaves in an out-of-control manner. She is nasty to lawyers.

Hannity then turned to Jay Sekulow from Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice and Andrew McCarthy of the National Review to confirm his extremely distorted view of Sotomayor. Watch it:

Had Hannity wanted to present a “fair and balanced” view of Sotomayor’s reputation, he would have noted that lawyers quoted in the edition of the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary from which he drew his statements also had many positive things to say about Sotomayor. Indeed, they said she was “very smart,” “very intelligent,” “an exceptional judge overall,” and that “she has a very good commonsense approach to the law.”

Additionally, as Rob Kar at PrawfsBlawg found, the 2000 edition of the Almanac painted, on balance, a much more positive image of Sotomayor than the more recent edition that Hannity quoted. Indeed, the 2000 edition lacks any description of her being a “terror” or “out-of-control.” Instead, she is described as “not rude in any way, but she’s exacting,” “professional,” and “all business”:

Lawyer’s found Sotomayor to be demanding. “I think she’s fine.” “She can be tough. She’s not rude in any way, but she’s exacting.” “She’s all business.” “I’ve never had any problem with her, but I know some lawyer’s don’t care for her temperament.” “She can be tough as nails, but, in truth, I think some lawyers give her a hard time or are threatened by her. She’s very accomplished and clearly smart, and, in truth, I think they’re intimidated. She has always been decent enough to me.” “She’s professional. She’s not quite as friendly or as approachable as some of the other circuit court judges are. She’s a little more stern.” “She’s very smart and well-prepared, and she expects lawyers to rise to her level. She has very little tolerance for lawyers who can’t match her intellectually.”

M.C.L. comment: Out of all the numb nuts that make up the right wing media Sean Hannity is by far the one that makes my blood boil, if Bush wanted to name a sock puppet to the Supreme Court Sean Hannity would defend it until he was blue in the face. Hannity defended everything Bush wanted to do regardless what they mean for the average person and the people he claims to support. And the current state the United States finds itself in Hannity back it from tax cuts for him and other millionaires, the failed war in Iraq which has weaken the miltary and the proposed Wall Street money grab on social security.. This what ticks me off about Hannity, he pretty much helped destory the country and he has the nerve to complain about President Obama agenda.

Fox News Embraces Right-Wing Theory That Obama Is Forcing GOP-Owned Car Dealerships To Close

From Think Progress and By Ryan Powers

Citing a handful of right-wing bloggers yesterday afternoon, the Washington Examiner reported ominously, “Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted Chrysler dealers who contributed to Republicans” for closure. Not to be outdone, Fox and Friends hosted conservative blogger Michelle Malkin this morning to play up the conspiracy theory. “Believe me Steve, over the last several years, we’ve all documented the Obama-Chicago-gangland tactics that certainly make this a possibility,” Malkin said.

Malkin’s speculative hysterics were apparently enough to pique the interest of Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett. As he’s done with other right-wing conspiracy theories, he asked the White House for its response to the charges:

GARRETT: There is some concern in the blogosphere that of the of the Chrysler dealerships being closed, a disproportionate number appear to be in which the operators contributed to Republicans. And hardly which contributed to democrats have been closed down. I’m not saying the White House knows anything about this but would you be concerned about any taint of politics in any of the decisions.

Watch it:

As Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained to Garrett, it is Chrysler — not the federal government — that is in charge of selecting which dealerships will be closed. Further, as Nate Silver explained in a post that was published just hours after the Examiner’s initial report yesterday, “There is just one problem with this theory. Nobody has bothered to look up data for the control group: the list of dealerships which aren’t being closed.”

Silver explained, “It turns out that all car dealers are, in fact, overwhelmingly more likely to donate to Republicans than to Democrats — not just those who are having their doors closed.” In all, Silver found that “88 percent of the contributions from car dealers went to Republican candidates and just 12 percent to Democratic candidates,” while, the list of Chrysler dealerships being closed “gave 92 percent of their money to Republicans — not really a significant difference.”

M.C.L comment: Michelle Malkin has to be the dumbest person on Fox News, and that's saying alot when Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and the jag offs that make up the crew on Fox and Friends are on the network. Once again the right get themselves worked up in a hissy fit from a story that was cooked up by some freeper in their mother's basement. So I'm guessing by next week another freeper is going to come out with a story claiming Obama wants you to pay a special tax everytime you visit a conservative website. Uh-oh I just might be link as a source for that one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

* * * Top Republican undermines attack on Sotomayor by admitting courts make laws

By David Edwards and John Byrne The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee appears to have undermined a key argument leveled by Republicans against Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Namely, he said that the Supreme Court “sets the law” — and in effect legislates from the bench. Republicans have previously used assertions that judges shouldn’t take activist stances, and should cleave closely to established law.

“She does have to answer some questions and we should not confirm somebody to the Supreme Court that will allow political, personal or emotional issues to influence the decision making,” ranking Judiciary Committee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) quipped Wednesday on MSBNC. “This is the Supreme Court of the United States. It sets the law for America.”

Critics of Sonia Sotomayor, whom Obama selected as his nominee to place retiring Justice David Souter, point to a YouTube clip in which she declared that appeals courts “set policy.”

Added Sessions: “I think we’re going to treat the nominee very well and fairly. I hope when it’s over, Joe, that the American people would say this is the best, most rigorous, fair hearing they’ve seen. We have a responsibility to do that. And, of course, with [Sen] Chuck Schumer (D-NY) there defending her she’s going to be well defended.”

This video is from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast May 26, 2009.

Download video via RawReplay.com

Buchanan: Sotomayor Must Have Been An ‘Affirmative Action’ Nominee Since No White Men Were Finalists

From Think Progress and By Amanda Terkel

Today on MSNBC, right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan attacked Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as an “affirmative action candidate.” He was unable to cite any evidence that she was unqualified, instead pointing to the fact that President Obama’s top four candidates for the spot were women. Because there were no white men in the final round, Buchanan was convinced that the whole selection process was rigged.

Host Norah O’Donnell pointed out that women have also been left out of serious consideration in the past and maybe “there weren’t any white men who were qualified” who were qualified this time. Buchanan responded that she was being bigoted. When guest Lawrence O’Donnell asked him if he would have been similarly outraged if it had been all men — and no women — as finalists, Buchanan avoided the question:

BUCHANAN: Look, are you going to let me talk, Lawrence? You got down to four women, not a single white male — all women.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Did it ever occur to you, Pat, that maybe there weren’t any white men who were qualified?

BUCHANAN: Yes. No, it did not occur to me. You mean there are no white males qualified? That would be an act of bigotry to make a statement like that. [...]

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Well Pat, if it gets down to four, you’re suggesting it’s an absolute outrage if the final four are women. If got down to final four and they were all white men, would that bother you in the least?

BUCHANAN: I don’t say it’s an outrage, I say it’s affirmative action. They were picked because she’s a woman and a Hispanic and you know it as well as I do.

Watch it:

We can always count on Buchanan to advocate in favor of a system that guarantees advantages for white men. With his arguments that slavery was a good thing for black people (“It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million”), wishing for a country where whites comprise 89 or 90 percent of the population, or saying that Hispanics “do not wish to assimilate,” Buchanan has little credibility left on issues of what is fair on race and gender.

“It’s like watching a dead fish flop around on the deck,” said Lawrence O’Donnell at the end of the segment. “You’re dead on this one, Pat. It’s all over.”

Transcript:

BUCHANAN: Look, are you going to let me talk, Lawrence? You got down to four women, not a single white male — all women.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Did it ever occur to you, Pat, that maybe there weren’t any white men who were qualified?

BUCHANAN: Yes. No, it did not occur to me. You mean there are no white males qualified? That would be an act of bigotry to make a statement like that.

NORAH O’DONNELL: In the past there have been no women that have been qualified.

BUCHANAN: They certainly have been qualified in the past. I don’t doubt that they are. But probably half of the great lawyers and judges are white males in this country. To rule them out, why? Because of sex and because of their race is wrong, I think. At least it’s affirmative action.

NORAH O’DONNELL: I don’t think you have proof that they did that. The President reportedly —

BUCHANAN: How did he come down to four women?

NORAH O’DONNELL: He said that they were the best and met the views that he had, the particular criteria.

BUCHANAN: In other words what were the criteria? One it’s got to be a woman, the other it’s an Hispanic — that’s affirmative action.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Lawrence, do you want to offer a rejoinder to that?

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Well Pat, if it gets down to four, you’re suggesting it’s an absolute outrage if the final four are women. If got down to final four and they were all white men, would that bother you in the least?

BUCHANAN: I don’t say it’s an outrage, I say it’s affirmative action. They were picked because she’s a woman and a Hispanic and you know it as well as I do. [...]

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Hopeless argument, Pat. It’s like watching a dead fish flop around on the deck. You’re dead on this one, Pat. It’s all over.

BUCHANAN: If we’re held now, we’d be goners. But I’ll tell you this — let me bet, I’ll disagree with Joe, there will be more than 15 votes against her. If more comes up, there will be more votes. This just started.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Wow, wow. Fifteen.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sotomayor's Nomination Puts GOP Hispanics In A Bind

from Huffy post and by Sam Stein and with additional reporting by Laura Dean

The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has thrust one of the more compelling political questions of recent years into the political limelight: just how will the Republican Party win back Latino voters?

On the one hand, the historic nature of the nomination -- Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to be nominated to the Court -- compels the GOP to treat the confirmation with kid gloves. On the other hand, the conservative base of the party is yearning for a fight.

Retiring Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), one of the few elected Hispanic Republicans, attempted to thread the needle in a statement released shortly after Obama announced the appointment.

"As an Hispanic-American, I take great pride in seeing the nomination of an Hispanic person to serve in this high position -- an historic first," read a statement from his office. "Judge Sonia Sotomayor's personal life story is one of great accomplishments and a source of inspiration; it also demonstrates the great opportunities our nation has to offer.

"The appointment and confirmation of Federal judges is the only time that the Constitution brings all three branches of our government together into one unified process. These unique opportunities require that all participants work to ensure the process is both fair and thorough. When it comes to judicial candidates, we ought to look at experience, fairness, impartiality, temperament, and knowledge of the law. I look forward to participating in a fair and thorough process as the Senate conducts its constitutionally-required examination of Judge Sotomayor's qualifications for serving on the nation's highest court."

On the other side of the coin is the response from the brasher wing of the conservative movement. Rush Limbaugh, for one, called Sotomayor a "racist" for discussing how her racial background affected her judicial philosophy and described Obama as a "reverse racist" for appointing a Hispanic to the Court.

"Here you have a racist," said Limbaugh. "You might want to soften that and say a reverse racist. And liberals say, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don't have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone. Reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the great living example of a reverse racist and now he's appointed one. You getting this AP, Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court."

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Then there is Dennis Baxley of the Florida Christian Coalition, who echoed Limbaugh's concerns: "She's frightening," he said, "And she's racist." He quoted Sotomayor saying, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Baxley added, "If I had said that as a white man, I would be hung out to dry."

Certainly, the nomination has the potential to expose some of the deep fissures over racial politics that exist within the GOP. And in the days ahead it will be telling to see just how other senators, members of Congress and varying interest groups handle Sotomayor's candidacy. That list includes Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who is running for governor of Texas; John McCain, who is up for reelection in Arizona; John Cornyn, who heads the NRSC; John Ensign, who hails from the heavily Hispanic Nevada; and Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, both running for Martinez's Senate seat in Florida.

An aide to California Congressman Devin Nunes, another Hispanic Republican, said his boss had not yet issued a statement, but was pleased by the news.

"I know he's happy about the fact that they've chosen a Hispanic and a woman...t o diversify the court," said Andrew House, "especially coming from California; we have a large Hispanic population, probably the largest of any Republican in Congress."

UPDATE: John McCain, whose state has a heavy Hispanic population, applauds the Sotomayor choice and promises to examine her record "thoroughly."

"I congratulate Judge Sonia Sotomayor on her nomination by the President to be an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court," read a statement from his offce. "I look forward to examining her record thoroughly during the Senate confirmation process."

M.C.L. Comment: It's going to be fun watching the Republicans on this one, will they side with the bigots and risk pushing new voters to the Democratic Party? Or will they lay down and risk that small base of racist, homophobes and religious zealots they're clinging to.

Former military interrogator says torture cost hundreds ‘if not thousands’ of American lives

By John Byrne A 14-year military interrogator has undercut one of the key arguments posited by Vice President Dick Cheney in favor of the Bush Administration’s torture techniques and alleged that the use of torture has cost “hundreds if not thousands” of American lives.

The interrogator, who uses the name “Matthew Alexander,” says he oversaw more than 1,000 interrogations, conducting more than 300 in Iraq personally. His statements are captured in a new video by Brave New Films (below).

“Torture does not save lives,” Alexander said in his interview. “And the reason why is that our enemies use it, number one, as a recruiting tool…These same foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight because of torture and abuse….literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives.”

Moreover, Alexander avers that many — as many as 90 percent — of those captured in Iraq said they joined the fight against the United States because of the torture conducted at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

“At the prison where I conducted interrogations,” Alexander said, “we heard day in and day out, foreign fighters who had been captured state that the number one reason that they had come to fight in Iraq was because of torture and abuse, what had happened at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.”

“Cheney,’ said Alexander, ‘fundamentally misunderstands the way America is viewed around the world,” a reporter who reviewed the video wrote Tuesday. “The American principles of freedom and democracy are cherished in the Muslim world and the idea, at least, of America is still a seductive one. But it is the behavior of the Bush administration at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret prisons around the globe that undercuts that image, allowing Al Qaeda to make the argument that America isn’t what it stands for.”

“One of Al Qaeda’s goals, it’s not just to attack the United States, it’s to prove that we’re hypocrites, that we don’t live up to American principles,” Alexander said. “So when we use torture and abuse, we’re playing directly into one of their stated goals.”

Vice President Cheney spoke out in defense of his administration’s so called “enhanced interrogation techniques” last week, including the waterboarding of key al Qaeda suspects.

“The point that is most absent is that our greatest success in this conflict was achieved without torture or abuse,” Alexander wrote in a blog post Sunday. “My interrogation team found Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the former leader of Al Qaida in Iraq and murderer of tens of thousands. We did this using relationship-building approaches and non-coercive law enforcement techniques. These worked to great effect on the most hardened members of Al Qaida — spiritual leaders who had been behind the waves of suicide bombers and, hence, the sectarian violence that swept across Iraq. We convinced them to cooperate by applying our intellect. In essence, we worked smarter, not harsher.”

“The former vice president is confusing harshness with effectiveness,” he added. “An effective interrogation is one that yields useful, accurate intelligence, not one that is harsh. It speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of interrogations, the goal of which is not to coerce information from a prisoner, but to convince a prisoner to cooperate.”

Inhofe worries that Sotomayor may allow ‘undue influence from her own personal race, gender.’

By Satyam Khanna Republican members of Congress have been trying to subtly raise questions about Sonia Sotomayor’s objectivity — simply because of her non-traditional race, gender, and upbringing. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said today that he is concerned Sotomayor has shown “personal bias based on ethnicity and gender.” Similarly, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said in a statement today that Sotomayor may be subject to the “undue influence” of her race and gender:

Of primary concern to me is whether or not Judge Sotomayor follows the proper role of judges and refrains from legislating from the bench. Some of her recent comments on this matter have given me cause for great concern. In the months ahead, it will be important for those of us in the U.S. Senate to weigh her qualifications and character as well as her ability to rule fairly without undue influence from her own personal race, gender, or political preferences.

Responding to Inhofe, The American Prospect’s Dana Goldstein writes, “Yes. Because the worldviews of John Roberts, Sam Alito, John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, and Antonin Scalia are not impacted at all by their white male identities. White men are raceless and genderless, haven’t you heard?”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Credit card overhaul bill headed to Obama

By TODD SPANGLER

WASHINGTON – Credit card reform legislation is headed to the president for his signature.

A day after the Senate passed a measure that prohibits companies from raising interest rates on existing balances unless payment is 60 days late, requires 45 days’ advanced notice for rate hikes and protects consumers from many hidden fees, the House approved the legislation 361-64 today.

President Barack Obama had asked for credit card legislation by Memorial Day.

“This bill stands up for struggling American families that are getting hit by unfair and abusive credit card practices,” said Rep. Sander Levin, a Royal Oak Democrat who cosponsored the bill. “Individuals have the right to be able to understand their credit card accounts, avoid unfair and hidden penalties, control their debt and manage their debt.”

Included in the legislation was a measure sponsored by Rep. Gary Peters, a Bloomfield Township Democrat, which requires that payments be applied first to the portion of a credit card bill which carries the highest interest rate. At present, card companies are allowed to force a consumer to pay off other parts of his or her bill before allocating it to the principal with the highest interest rate.

“In my 22 years working in the financial sector, the most basic advice I would have for any family was to pay off their debt with the highest interest rates first,” said Rep. Peters, a former investment adviser. “But credit card companies were forcing people to do just the opposite. My amendment simply says that a consumer has the right to pay off the principal with the highest interest first.”

After the Senate approved the bill Tuesday, Edward Yingling, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, said it could “undermine the availability of credit” by restricting individual institutions’ ability to price credit against risk.

“It is a fundamental rule of lending that an increase in risk means that less credit will be available and that the credit that is available will often have a higher interest rate,” he said.

Here are some of the aspects of the legislation going to Obama for his signature, to be effective in February 2010:

• Credit card companies won’t be able to increase your interest rate on existing balances unless you are 60 days past due on your premium.

• If you pay more than the minimum due, the additional payment will be first applied to the part of the balance with the highest interest rate.

• Card companies cannot raise your interest rate for the first year after the account is opened and any promotional rate must last at least six months.

• Your statement must be mailed to you at least 21 days before the payment is due.

• You will have at least a 45-day notice of any rate hike, along with the opportunity to reject such a change for existing balances.

• The company cannot charge you a fee for paying your credit card by phone, unless it’s an expedited payment that requires talking to a service representative.

• You cannot be charged an over-the-limit fee unless you have signed up to allow transactions that would put you over your limit.

• Consumers under age 21 would only be able to get a credit card with a co-signer or proof they can repay the credit extended to them.

• Your bill must tell you how long it would take to pay off your balance and how much interest you would pay over that time if you only make the minimum payment, as well as what penalties you will face for a late payment.

Whoopi Goldberg Calls Glenn Beck A 'Lying Sack Of Dog Mess'

By.Jason Linkins

Glenn Beck went on "The View" today. It did NOT go well.

Nevertheless, it was DELIGHTFUL, by God. In the clip below, watch as Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg pin Beck down for lying on the radio about an encounter they all had on the train to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Beck is forced, at first, to walk back his "mischaracterization" of the encounter. But then, things go ZOMGY as Goldberg calls him a "LYING SACK OF DOG MESS," which is hilarious. Then Walters freaks out on him for claiming to be a reporter and yet not bothering to check his facts. And really, it just gets even more bonkers from there. Honestly, if you were to take a drink every time Beck comes off as totally disingenuous, you will require a new liver by the end of the segment. DO NOT DO THIS, OBVIOUSLY.

[WATCH.]

In the second segment, the discussion gets itself partially back on the rails, but only in that the show's hosts are no longer venting their aggravation with Beck telling falsehoods about their train encounter. Beck talks about how he hates everyone in Congress and how everyone should resign. But then Beck gets stumped by a question from Barbara: "What are your real convictions?"

His answer: "I believe in God. I believe in the founding of this country. I believe George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson were geniuses."

So there you have it. Glenn Beck really, really believes in God, the names of some Presidents, and that the United States was founded, somehow, at some point in the past.

UPDATE: Via Media Monitor Teri McCarthy, here's the second part, which goes okay until Walters starts asking Beck for his convictions:

Story continues below

ANOTHER UPDATE: Glenn is TERRIBLE upset at the terrible way the View ambushed him, like they were his Fox colleague, Bill O'Reilly or something!

Glenn knew this wasn't going to be pretty -- but his interview with the ladies on The View was even worse than anticipated, mostly because they wasted an entire segment on accusations that Glenn 'lied' about who said hello to who first on his Amtrak train ride with Barbara and Whoopi to the Correspondents dinner in Washington DC. The saddest part is that not only did they waste an entire segment on a completely insignificant, petty, humorless and incidental point - Glenn had already clarified the point the day before! Tune in to Fox News tonight at 5pm for Glenn's first response to the 'liar liar pants on fire' ambush interview by the ladies on The View.

A LAST UPDATE: Glenn Beck called into his own show today to respond to the way he was treated on The View - something he could have done whilst actually on the show while it was happening but didn't, I guess. This is called "pulling a Jim Cramer."

BECK: Judge, you listen to my radio show. I tell stories. I tell about experiences of my life and everything else, and I told the story about riding on the train with the two ladies of The View, and apparently I was a liar because I said that -- which is true, that she -- Barbara Walters said hello to me. Instead, it was I said hello to Barbara Walters. I walked up to her -- I guess that's what we need to spend our time on for 7 minutes.

As usual, Beck is being disingenuous by reducing the whole encounter to a dispute over who said hello to who first. In actuality, the "story" Beck told was about how: 1) Goldberg and Walters reserved seats on Amtrak, the subtext being that they were acting like some sort of celebrity divas, 2) implied that Walters was unpleasant in her conversation by affecting a mocking and exaggerated imitation of her voice, and 3) implied that it was Beck's great influence and magnetism that caused the View ladies to approach him and seek his attention, when in actuality, it was the reverse.

Beck took leave of his show thusly:

BECK: What kind of person would go on national radio and say he introduced himself or they introduced themselves to him when, indeed, the truth, your honor, is that he introduced himself to them?

NAPOLITANO: Oh, boy. are you going to be back tomorrow, big guy?

BECK: I'm going to hang up the phone, take a little more Nyquil so I can rest medicine.

Military attorney: Waterboarding is ‘tip of the iceberg’

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane A military attorney who represented a now-freed Guantanamo detainee told CNN on Wednesday that waterboarding is only “the tip of the iceberg”

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley was the lawyer for Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian national who was arrested by the Pakistani government in April 2002 on suspicion of being a member of al Qaeda. He was then shuffled through a series of CIA “ghost prisons” before being imprisoned at Guantanamo for five years. Last winter, President Obama ordered him released to the United Kingdom, where he had been a legal resident.

Bradley told CNN that when she was first assigned to represent Mohamed, she did not question he was a hardened terrorist, because “my government was saying these were the worst of the worst.” However, she now says, “There’s no reliable evidence that Mr. Mohamed was going to do anything to the United States.”

According to Bradley, when Mohamed was first held at a CIA prison in Morocco, “They started this monthly treatment where they would come in with a scalpel or a razor type of instrument and they would slash his genitals, just with small cuts.”

Following that torture, Mohamed confessed that he had attended an al Qaeda training camp and discussed plans to make a dirty bomb. He also answered “No” to the question, “While in U.S. military custody have you been treated in any way that you would consider abusive?”

Now Bradley believes, “This has nothing to do about national security, it has to do with national embarrassment.”

In February, when Mohamed was still being held at Guantanamo, she wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian saying, “It is worth bearing in mind that all charges against Binyam have been dropped and that Binyam’s chief prosecutor resigned, citing the unfairness of the system. I profoundly hope that he is not being kept in Guantánamo to avoid information surrounding his rendition and torture coming out.”

This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast May 20, 2009.

Download video via RawReplay.com

Steele declares that ‘liberalism will kill you.’

By Matt Corley This past weekend, RNC Chairman Michael Steele made headlines when he delivered a speech at the Georgia Republican convention, in which he argued that same-sex marriage would be a huge burden on small businesses. But that wasn’t the only controversial claim Steele made in the speech. According to Human Events’ Martha Zoller, Steele also declared that “liberalism will kill you“:

He went on to say, “The Republican Party’s credibility as the reliably conservative choice has been damaged, and it’s up to us to fix it. Faith, freedom, personal responsibility, respect for life and prosperity” Then he added, “Like a bad diet, liberalism will kill you. It’s a drug we don’t need to be hooked on. We are what stand between an America of prosperity or dependency. Which one do you want?” For that crowd, they wanted the Republican values of Michael Steele.

M.C.L Comment: Let's recap the last eight years when Conservatives were in charge:

1.9.11 attacks even tho there were warnings.

2. Record surplus turned into debt.

3. tax cuts for the very wealthy.

4. an illegal war in Iraq

5. Letting the mastermind of 9.11 go when the leader of the conservative movement decided to go after his oil grab in Iraq.

6. The Atlantic ocean size gap between middle class and the rich.

7. The erosion of the constitution.

8. The conservative government failed response to Hurricane Katrina.

9. Deregulation that lead to the current problems we as a country are experiencing.

After Claiming He Couldn’t ‘Imagine’ The CIA ‘Would Mislead Us,’ Boehner Acknowledges They May Have

By Matt Corley

Last week, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asserted in a press conference that she believed the CIA had misled her in a briefing on interrogation, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) scoffed at the idea that the CIA could have been dishonest. “It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone in the intelligence areas would mislead us,” said Boehner in his own press conference.

But on CNN today, Boehner acknowledged that members of his own party, such as Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), have previously accused the CIA of lying to Congress. Pressed by Wolf Blitzer, Boehner did not disagree with Hoekstra’s allegation that the CIA lied to Congress in a previous case:

BOEHNER: Pete Hoekstra did say that. And the Inspector General at the CIA did an investigation and it became clear that some CIA operatives did in fact cover this up. This is not, we’re talking about two different issues here. All the facts in this case are on the table and the truth is now known to all, to everyone.

BLITZER: So, based on what you know on that case involving Hoekstra, the case he was interested in. Do you agree that the CIA then lied to Congress?

BOEHNER: I know as much about this case as Pete Hoekstra does and the Inspector General did in fact do an investigation, produced a report and frankly supported, I think, Pete’s claims.

Watch it:

As Boehner’s acknowledgment makes clear, the idea that the CIA could potentially mislead Congress is not beyond the realm of possibility. In fact, in a speech today, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, argued that “the CIA has a very bad record when it comes…to honesty. It goes back a long time.” He supported his point by citing “a handful of examples in the past where the CIA has withheld key information from Congress.”

Transcript:

BLITZER: Last year, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, he said this in response to a case that he was watching very closely, an American citizen who was killed in a plane crash, a cover up-alleged involving the CIA. He said these words: “We cannot have an intelligence community that covers up what it does and then lies to Congress.” That’s what Pete Hoekstra said in 2008.

BOEHNER: Pete Hoekstra did say that. And the Inspector General at the CIA did an investigation and it became clear that some CIA operatives did in fact cover this up. This is not, we’re talking about two different issues here. All the facts in this case are on the table and the truth is now known to all, to everyone.

BLITZER: So, based on what you know on that case involving Hoekstra, the case he was interested in. Do you agree that the CIA then lied to Congress?

BOEHNER: I know as much about this case as Pete Hoekstra does and the Inspector General did in fact do an investigation, produced a report and frankly supported, I think, Pete’s claims. And all we’re trying to do here in both cases is to get to the bottom, and get to the truth. And it’s the truth that we want here. And the fact is is that CIA director Panetta issued a very strong letter to Speaker Pelosi, making it clear that in his opinion they did not mislead her or lie to her. And so I want to either see the documents or see the speaker apologize.

Monday, May 18, 2009

GOP Losses Span Nearly All Demographic Groups

from Huffington Post and by Marcus Baram

The decline and fall of the Republican Party in recent years has been so widespread that the party has lost support among nearly every major demographic subgroup of likely voters across the country, according to a new Gallup poll.

The party lost support among a broad swath of Americans, from conservative to liberal, low-income to high-income, married to unmarried, and elderly to young.

The only subgroup in which the party saw a slight increase in support from 2001 to 2009 was frequent churchgoers.

The biggest declines, of roughly 10 percent, occurred among the college-educated, 18 to 29-year-olds, and Midwestern voters.

The turning point was 2005, after Hurricane Katrina and Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, when the party's support really started to free-fall, according to Gallup: "By the end of 2008, the party had its worst positioning against the Democrats in nearly two decades."

M.C.L comment: Here's the duh statement of the century here, the Republicans are caught between a loon and a hard place. The Republicans have depended on the far right for election success so much they allow them to take over the party. Even after the last election you still had portions of Republicans think the only reason John McCain lost to Barack Obama was because McCain wasn't right wing enough.

And speaking of the election if you get a chance to see it on HBO, do watch the hour long documentary "Right America feeling wrong" if anything you see the reasons the Republicans find themselves in the state they are.

GOP Senator Leading Attacks Against Health Care Reform Admits Gitmo Detainees Get Better Care Than Americans

By Satyam Khanna Last week, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) visited the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and declared that even if detainees are held without charge, they should remain at Guantanamo “until the war against terrorism ends.” “They are like having Charles Manson times whatever factor — these people are so dangerous,” Ensign said.

Ensign said that Guantanamo seemed so appealing to him that it would be “hard to imagine” why anyone would want to close the facility. When making this argument, however, Ensign inadvertently made a case for health care reform:

It is hard to imagine why we would ever think about closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” Ensign said. “I walked away very proud of what our troops are doing down there. I think any American would be proud as well.”

Ensign said the facilities at Gitmo are nicer than prisons in the United States, and said the food detainees were served was better than what he and the traveling lawmakers ate. “They get better health care than the average American citizen does,” Ensign said.

Guantanamo detainees receive care that is “as good as or better than anything we would offer our own soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines,” the general in charge of Guantanamo has said. (Veterans care is widely considered the best health care available.) Guantanamo reportedly has 19 in-patient beds, a physical-therapy area, pharmacy, radiology department, central sterilization area, an operating room, and available psychiatric care. Notably, Michael Moore made the same argument in his movie, Sicko.

While Ensign inadvertently admitted to the dismal nature of American health care, he is currently the leader of the Republican Policy Committee (RPC), which is working to derail President Obama’s health care reforms. The AP reported this month that “Senate Republicans are already seeking and getting detailed advice on the best way to attack” Obama’s plan, and the RPC is soliciting advice from health care obstructionist Frank Luntz:

The suggestions are contained in a 28-page presentation by Frank Luntz. … Luntz reviewed his recommendations Wednesday with aides to conservative Republicans in a session organized by the Republican Policy Committee, headed by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press.

“The policy committee brings in all kinds of people. He presented us with ways to communicate better and we listened,” said Rebecca Fisher, a spokeswoman for the group.

Much more on conservative obstruction of Obama’s health care plan in today’s Progress Report.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hoekstra says waterboarding was legal, claims ‘there is a wide range of waterboarding.’

By Satyam Khanna

In a tense interview on Fox News today, host Shep Smith repeatedly pressed Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) if waterboarding is torture. Hoekstra initially dodged, saying, “I don’t know if it’s torture or not.” “I’d like an answer, sir,” Smith responded. Asked a fourth time, Hoekstra finally said he believes that interrogations used in the “immediate aftermath” of 2002 — which included waterboarding — were “consistent” with the law:

Q: And waterboarding is or is not torture?

HOEKSTRA: There is a wide range of waterboarding. I’m telling you, that I know waterboarding was used, Shep. I’m not mincing words. I’m saying that I believe the techniques used in 2002, in 2003, which included waterboarding in a specific format that I’m aware of how they used it, that I believe that was consistent with U.S. law.

Watch it:

Of course, waterboarding has for decades violated domestic and international law.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More topless photos of anti-gay beauty queen released

By David Edwards and John Byrne

On the "eve" of an intervention by "the Donald," the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com has released new photographs of Miss California's Carrie Prejean, who set off a firestorm after saying that she'd campaign against same sex marriage. The photos, which follow, were acquired by the America Online/Time Warner venture TMZ and released at 2:00 AM ET Tuesday. Trump is to decide today whether Prejean should be able to keep her crown. TMZ says the photographs were taken last year, when Prejean was 20. Prejean, the winner of Miss California who made public appearances with anti-marriage equality groups, was strongly criticized by Miss California USA officials on Monday, though she retained her title. In a Monday interview on Christian radio with James Dobson, Prejean said that God told her to say she was against same-sex marriage.

Dobson: Why did you give the answer you did with regard to the affirmation of marriage? Prejean: . . . I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me in asking me this question. And then God was in my head and in my heart saying, "Do not compromise this. You need to stand up for me and you need to share with all these people . . . you need to witness to them and you need to show that you're not willing to compromise that for this title of Miss USA."
Prejean was humiliated last week when a topless photo of her surfaced on thedirty.com. She had been under fire for an alleged breach of contract for her work promoting the anti-marriage equality cause. But Miss California USA co-director Keith Lewis seemed to place much of the blame for Carrie Prejean's troubles on the groups that have taken her as spokesman. "Shame," Lewis said at a Monday press conference. "Shame, shame, shame. Shame for taking this young woman and exploiting her to further your own agenda. Shame for not preparing her for the firestorm you knew you were creating. And most of all, shame for doing it all the while knowing that you placed her in a position where she stood to possibly lose her crown not for her beliefs, as you so screamed, but for the breach of contract you so willingly encouraged. "How sad that your message is so isolating that you reach out and grab any glimmer of an ally with no proper investigation or preparation, even if it means destroying a young woman for your own good." Prejean's topless photos were not the main concern for Miss California USA directors, they said. "The local pageant does not have the authority to fire Prejean as Miss California," noted LA Now. "Only Donald Trump and the Miss Universe organization can do that. Pageant officials said they would be willing to work with Carrie Prejean, but every time they reach out to her, they are confronted by an army of her handlers and haven’t been able to talk with her. “'Up to now, it’s been very difficult to get in touch with her,' said Shanna Moakler, executive director of the California pageant." This video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast May 11, 2009.
M.C.L. comment I wonder did God tell her to pose with her boobs showing?

Ventura: Powell's a 'war hero,' while Cheney 'ran and hid'

From Raw Story

Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura laid into Dick Cheney on CNN Monday night for, among other things, supporting waterboarding and maligning a "war hero" during an interview on Sunday.

"I was water boarded, so I know -- at SERE School, Survival Escape Resistance Evasion," the former wrestler who gained his first mainstream fame playing a role in the sci-fi actioner Predator told CNN's Larry King. "It was a required school you had to go to prior to going into the combat zone, which in my era was Vietnam. All of us had to go there. We were all, in essence -- every one of us was water boarded. It is torture."

King asked, "What was it like?"

"It's drowning," Ventura responded. "It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders."

"I don't have a lot of respect for Dick Cheney," Ventura said. "Here's a guy who got five deferments from the Vietnam War. Clearly, he's a coward. He wouldn't go when it was his time to go. And now he is a chicken hawk. Now he is this big tough guy who wants this hardcore policy. And he's the guy that sanctioned all this torture by calling it enhanced interrogation."

King asked, "Do you think Rush Limbaugh's a better Republican than Colin Powell?"

"No, not at all," Ventura said. "In fact, if you compare the two, let's look at Colin Powell, who's a war hero, who strapped it on for his country, and didn't run and hide."

King pointed out, "Twice."

"And then you look at Dick Cheney who ran and hid," Ventura said. "I have no respect for Dick Cheney. I have tremendous respect for General Powell."

Crooks and Liars has video of the Ventura interview at this link.

House Republicans: Look How Many Layoffs We Helped Create

By Ryan Powers

Today, the Washington Post reported that “eleven weeks after Congress settled on a stimulus package that provided $135 billion to limit layoffs in state governments, many states are finding that the funds are not enough and are moving to lay off thousands of public employees.” Washington state will be forced to layoff several thousand educators and Massachusetts which “cut 1,000 positions late last year, just announced 250 layoffs, with more likely to come soon.”

Apparently missing the article’s point — that the stimulus should have included more budget stabilization funding for states — the House GOP featured the article on their website today, suggesting that the report vindicated their unanimous opposition to the recovery act. Later in the day, they linked to the article on twitter and gleefully quipped, “Look how many layoffs the stimulus created“:

In reality, of course, the economic recovery didn’t “create” layoffs at the state level. Had the recovery plan included no money at all for state level budget stabilization — as the House Republicans proposed — layoffs of public servants at the state level would have been far more widespread.

Further, as the Post makes clear, it was members of the Republican party and several conservative Democrats sympathetic with the Republican line on the recovery package that actively lobbied for reductions in state budget stabilization funding by $40 billion:

But in the Senate, the stabilization funding was cut by $40 billion to secure the support of the three Republicans who were needed for a filibuster-proof 60 votes — Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvaniaas well as to gain the support of conservative Democrats such as Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska

Susan Collins (R-ME) defended her efforts to slash the state stabilization funding, saying, “The fundamental purpose of the stimulus bill is to save and create jobs and help get our economy moving again. … The bloated House-passed bill stood no chance of passing the Senate.”

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

DNC Survivor Ad Mocks Republicans As Hapless Castaways

by.Sam Stein

Taking advantage of the latest internal squabbling and insecurity of the GOP, the Democratic National Committee put out a new web ad Tuesday evening comparing the lot of prospective leaders in the Republican Party to a theoretical cast of the hit show Survivor.

Entitled "Survivor: GOP," the clip makes its point in images rather than words.

Starting with a worried quote about the state of the party from Sen. Olympia Snowe (the "Last of the Moderates," to continue with the tribal theme), the ad goes through 16 Republican tribe members vying "for the heart and soul of the GOP."

Mitt Romney, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Mark Sanford, Jeb Bush, John McCain, Bobby Jindal, John Cornyn, Mike Huckabee, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh all make brief cameos.

Replete with a mock Survivor emblem -- "Outwit. Outplay. Outlast. Survivor: GOP Edition" -- the ad represents a new crest of DNC mockery about the search for leadership and message in the Republican Party. Instead of official titles, each figure is referred to simply by their first name (or in Cornyn's case, "Big John"). At one point, the shot turns to a helpless little elephant running through the mud.

Certainly, the DNC hasn't lacked useful material. This past week Romney clashed with Palin's camp, Limbaugh ridiculed the Cantor-led rebranding effort, Steele remained seemingly on thin ice (save with Gingrich), the party lost a Senator to the Democrats, and a poll showed only 21 percent of the public identifies with the GOP.

Asked if they would keep hitting on the Survivor theme in weeks to come, a DNC official said they were "exploring the idea."

Limbaugh Responds To Powell: He Needs To ‘Close The Loop And Become A Democrat’

By Ryan Powers

On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that he believed the Republican party is in “deep trouble,” “getting smaller,” and being led by polarizing figures like Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Rush Limbaugh. Powell said further that the party must realize that “Americans do want to pay taxes for services.” Of Limbaugh specifically, Powell said, “I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without.”

Today on his radio show, Limbaugh responded by calling Powell “just another liberal.” Limbaugh said Powell should “close the loop” and leave the Republican party instead of “claiming” to be interested in reforming it. Additionally, Limbaugh reiterated his previous claim that Powell endorsed Obama only because of his race:

LIMBAUGH: [Powell] is out there saying I am killing the republican party while he endorsed and voted for Obama. … He’s just mad at me because I’m the one person in the country who had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama. It was purely and solely based on race! There can be no other explanation for it. What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican party.

Limbaugh concluded, “The only reason to endorse Obama is race. I don’t think Powell thought he could get away without with not endorsing Obama. … So I don’t care.” Watch it:

Greg Sargent concludes, “The optics of this one are not good.” Indeed, congressional Republicans are working extremely hard to ensure their rebranding effort is tailored to Limbaugh’s liking. Will they spoil their efforts by denouncing Limbaugh’s latest rant?

Graham: ‘If we’re going to let the bloggers run the country, then the country’s best days are behind us.’

From Think Progress and By Matt Corley After it was announced earlier this week that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) would replace Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) as the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, bloggers, including ThinkProgress, noted that Sessions had a record of racial insensitivity that stopped his appointment to the federal bench in 1986. Now, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is hitting back at the blogs:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Republicans would fight back hard if Democrats or liberal groups try to make the Supreme Court confirmation process about Sessions’ record, rather than about Obama’s nominee to replace Justice David Souter.

“If people try to go down that road, it’ll blow up in their face, because Jeff is a good guy,” Graham said. “My hope is that our Democratic colleagues — if you start listening to the bloggers — if we’re going to let the bloggers run the country, then the country’s best days are behind us.”

M.C.L comment: Ok Lindsey, only if you and the Republicans stop letting the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Neal Boortz, Michael Reagan, Laura Ingrahm, Michelle Malkin, Monica Crowley, Free Republic, Newsmax, World Net Daily, Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Karl Rove run the Republican party.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Another Man Shoots Cops Because He's Worried About Obama

Here's the thing that gets me, it's not even that long ago when the right wing attack anyone that was critical of George W. Bush everyone from Danny Glover to the Dixie Chicks were attack and their careers were threaten because they voiced a opinion that was different at the time. Now it's 2009 and people like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage who spent the last eight years attacking critics of George W. Bush are now telling their audiences that they want President Obama to fail, they should rise up against the government and how they should armed themselves. Could you image what would happen if Thom Hartmann or Mike Malloy said those things during Bush's term? They would be on the Bush watch list. This beyond hate speech they're ginning up a crowd that doesn't need a hell of a lot to ginned up and it takes one of these losers to pick up a gun and do something horrible.

Joe The Plumber Slurs Gay People: I Would Never Let "Queers" Near My Children

Joe the Plumber, aka Samuel Wurzelbacher, sat down for an lengthy interview with Christianity Today to discuss his views on the future of the Republican party. Wurzelbacher took the opportunity to speak out against gay marriage, which he says is wrong. The unlikely conservative spokesman went so far as to say he doesn't allow openly gay people "anywhere near" his children.

The word "queer," Wurzelbacher noted, "means strange and unusual."

Christianity Today: In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?

Wurzelbacher: At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary--it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do--what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people, and they're going to do their thing.

In the vein of George W. Bush and Michael Steele, Joe the Plumber also indicated that he wouldn't run for public office until the Lord had given him a cue. "God hasn't said, 'Joe, I want you to run.' I feel more important to just encourage people to get involved, one way or another. If I can inspire some leaders, that would be great." Joe added: "I don't know if I want to be a leader."

Read more excerpts from the interview at the Colorado Independent.

McCotter: House GOP needs to be an ‘entrepreneurial insurgency.’

From Think Progress and by Matt Corley In February, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) argued that the Republican Party needed to be come an “insurgency” to counter Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and added that the Taliban can serve as “a model.” In an interview with Roll Call about the GOP’s latest re-branding effort, House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) echoed Sessions, saying that the House GOP needed to act as an “entrepreneurial insurgency”: Instead of potentially diluting their message by outsourcing its development to outside players, McCotter said, House Members should focus on engaging the Democratic majority as an “entrepreneurial insurgency” and continue to build their strength from within the Conference. “We should be focusing on doing the little things right and building on them,” McCotter told Roll Call. “We have to do it every single day in the House.” He added, “I hope [the new group] augments it but I worry that it may overwhelm it.” Roll Call notes that McCotter is “the only member of the House leadership team who declined to participate in the National Council for a New America,” the GOP re-branding group launched by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) last week

Friday, May 01, 2009

Poll: almost half of Georgia GOP think state would be better off seceding

By Stephen C. Webster

The General Assembly of Georgia recently passed Senate Resolution 632 in support of the state sovereignty movement, by a vote of 43-1; an act Atlanta writer Jay Bookman characterized as accidentally threatening the state’s ties to the United States.

“In fact, Senate Resolution 632 did a lot more than merely threaten to end this country,” he wrote. “It stated that under the Constitution, the only crimes the federal government could prosecute were treason, piracy and slavery.

“’Therefore, all acts of Congress which assume to create, define or punish [other] crimes … are altogether void, and of no force,’ the Georgia Senate declared.”

“Finally, the resolution states that if Congress, the president or federal courts take any action that exceeds their constitutional powers, the Constitution is rendered null and void and the United States of America is officially disbanded. …

“Now, to be fair, the resolution passed because it was snuck unnoticed onto the Senate resolution calendar on the 39th day of the 40-day legislative session, when senators were trying to handle dozens of bills and scores of amendments. Most did not have an opportunity to read the six-page resolution, which in its description claimed to merely affirm ’states’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles.”

In Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry recently made comments many interpreted to be friendly toward secessionist politics, a Rasmussen poll found just 18 percent of his constituents would vote to secede from the United States were such a ballot ever put forward. Just 31 percent of the poll’s respondents believe that Texas even has the right to leave the Union.

MCL comment:

I remember back when Bush "won" in 2000 and 2004 Republicans were quick to remind us that George W. Bush was our president too and we should put away petty partisan issues away to unite for the better of the country, now since the President has a "D" after his name all these Republican states want to break away to be their own little countries.

Where's the (Fake) Conservative Outrage on This Threat Assessment?

By John Ridley and from Huffy Post: When the Department of Homeland Security issued an intelligence assessment characterizing returning military vets as potential domestic terrorists, conservatives went ape...crap. Rep. John Boehner said the report was offensive and demanded that the DHS apologize to veterans. Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis said the DHS was "engaging in political and ideological profiling." Michelle Malkin said the report was "one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I'd ever read."

'Cause Tim McVeigh didn't exist, domestic militias are harmless and there's been no uptick in hate crimes across America.

Be that as it may...

If conservatives are so sensitive to "shoddy" threat assessments, where's the (fake) outrage over Virginia's Anti-terrorism Fusion Center's recently leaked report that the state's historically black colleges --- Virginia Union University, Virginia State University, Norfolk State University and Hampton University - form a "radicalization node" for extremists?

In addition to singling out historically black colleges and the Hampton Roads area as being "at risk" because of its "diverse military population" as well as being home to black colleges, the report from the Unit notes Richmond's history as the capital of the Confederacy and its sizable minority population make it a breeding ground for race-based extremist groups. You know. Scary dark-skinned people with guns!

The leaked report immediately set off a wave of anger with everybody in the state except conservatives. To be fair, the report painted with a pretty broad brush, and some 50 organizations to the left and the right of the political spectrum are mentioned in the assessment. But Virginia's HBCUs are specifically named, without explanation, as being ground zero for domestic terror activity.

Thankfully, Gov. Tim Kaine, at the urging of the ACLU, has launched an investigation into how the Fusion Center arrived at its conclusions.

No need to investigate why conservatives have been uniformly silent about the incident.